Neil Fox’s film reviews: Cloud Atlas, Mama

Cloud Atlas
Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas

Every now and again a film comes along that just jolts you, and you don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing.

The new film from the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer is a sprawling, hugely ambitious, utterly flawed but somewhat fascinating attempt at pushing all the boundaries and envelopes of narrative cinema.

It’s refreshing to be challenged in so many ways by a mainstream film. The story, adapted from the popular novel by David Mitchell, is a meditation on the soul, on the nature existence and the idea of what we pass on and what we take from behind, in universal ways.

The cast comprises Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw and they appear and reappear as the film darts between timelines, eras, souls. Heroes, villains, ordinary people. Lovers, dreamers.

It’s a mess, but it feels wondrous to be part of it, trying to figure it out.

It’s infuriating in the way that Terrence Malick’s Tree Of Life was, or Darren Aronofsky’s massively underrated The Fountain was, but sadly it lacks neither the vision or poetry of the former, or the unbridled humanity of the latter.

Still, it’s good to see cinema still moving forward, and missteps like this are far-more welcome than the safe, clichéd dross we normally get served.


Here’s a great lesson for aspiring filmmakers. Make a five-minute horror short, somehow get it seen and adored by Guillermo Del Toro and he will help you turn it into your debut feature.

Actress of the moment Jessica Chastain stars as one half of a couple who rescue two sisters from the woods, the girls having been feared dead for five years.

Re-acclimatising them is hard, especially as they appear to have brought what terrorised them back into civilisation with them.

A decent horror flick with some great performances and a few nice touches.